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Content Process

Working with workflow, part II

Gigi Griffis • 2 minutes

Yesterday, we started a discussion about workflow and the steps, people, and strategic factors that influence it. Today, I’d like to dive a little deeper and give you an example or two.

First, if you haven’t already read them, we’ve got a whole series on process that shines some light on workflows across a variety of industries and business types, including advertising, non-profits, small businesses, and large corporations.

Now, let’s talk about coming up with some workflows of our own:

It’s all about identifying your priorities

So you’ve already listed out all the steps and people involved in your project. Now it’s time to prioritize them. At this stage of your workflow development, you’ll have to answer some tough questions like:

  • Do we have time and budget for all of these steps?
  • If not…
    • Which steps could we do simultaneously?
    • Which steps could we skip for now and come back to later?
    • Which steps don’t really fit in with our business goals (and thus can be skipped)?
    • Which steps could be accomplished at a lower budget?
    • And do we need to ask for more budget or time to make this project worthwhile?

 

For a new website project, for example, a content strategist might sketch out an ideal workflow that includes everything from SEO strategy to video development to social media development. But a small budget and tight timeframe means trimming it down to the essentials, possibly including link building strategy, videography, and social media for phase two.

And in some cases, when the budget or time frame just isn’t enough to cover the essentials, said content strategist will have to go back to the boss/client/stakeholders and ask for more budget or time. (If you have to do this, be prepared to explain why you need more budget or time, and always tie your explanations back to quality, business objectives, and user needs.)

One workflow example

A simple, high-level workflow for that small, tight-budget website project might look something like this:

January – February
Content Strategy
Responsible: Content Strategist
Stakeholders/Approvals: Creative Director, Business Manager, CEO

March
Design
Responsible: Creative Director, UX Designer
Stakeholders/Approvals: Content Strategist, Business Manager, CEO

Content Development
Responsible: Content Strategist, Web Writer
Stakeholders/Approvals: Content Strategist, Business Manager

April
Development
Responsible: Programmer
Stakeholders/Approvals: Creative Director, Content Strategist

May
Content Upload, Final Review, & Launch
Responsible: Content Uploader, Web Writer, Programmer
Stakeholders/Approvals: Creative Director, Content Strategist, Business Manager, CEO

A few final thoughts

If budget allows, you can easily add to the framework above. If timeframe isn’t an issue, you can develop content before diving into design. Or if your priority is SEO or social engagement, you can make sure those elements are included in your workflow—even if it means spending a little less budget on design or developing a few less pages of content (you can always add features in phase two, three, and on).

Wherever your workflow lands, the important thing is that it reflects your business goals and user needs—the foundation of your online marketing success.

This is a guest post by Gigi Griffis. Gigi is a content strategist and web writer specializing in travel, technology, education, non-profit, and wellness content. In 2010, she quit her agency job and started Content for Do-Gooders, where she helps clients solve messy content problems around the world. You should follow her on Twitter.

Photo credits: Margaret Stranks

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About the Author

Gigi Griffis

Content Strategist

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